Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006
Forfeiture of proceeds from disposal of illegally-caught fish.
31.— (1) Where it is shown to the satisfaction of the court on the balance of probability that fish were caught in contravention of any law of the State or of Community law or in contravention of any international agreement to which the State is a party, the appropriate market value from disposal of that fish shall be forfeited to the State and may be recovered, in accordance with this section, from—
(a) in the case of an Irish sea-fishing boat, the owner or owners of that boat as recorded in the Register of Fishing Boats if the boat is registered in that register or the holder of the sea-fishing boat licence for the boat concerned, or
(b) in the case of any other sea-fishing boat, the owner or owners of the boat concerned.
(2) A forfeiture under subsection (1)—
(a) shall be in addition to and not in substitution for any fine or other forfeiture which a court may impose in relation to the sea-fishing boat or sea-fishing concerned and shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance directs, and
(b) may be imposed where there were no proceedings for an offence in relation to the sea-fishing boat or sea-fishing concerned.
(3) Prima facie evidence that fish were caught illegally may be adduced by a sea-fisheries protection officer from the logbook or other records relating to the sea-fishing boat or sea-fishing concerned.
(4) In order to establish an appropriate valuation of the proceeds to be forfeited so as to reflect the economic effects of the illegal sea-fishing concerned, the court shall have regard to the greater of the following amounts—
(a) the amount of the proceeds of disposal according to any documentary evidence submitted by the owner of the sea-fishing boat concerned, within such period as the court may specify, or
(b) the appropriate market value of the sea-fish concerned involving a willing seller and a willing buyer operating at arms’ length, in so far as that value could reasonably be established:
Provided that where the sea-fish concerned were first disposed of for storage and were subsequently disposed of otherwise at a different value, the appropriate market value of the sea-fish concerned shall be taken to be the value of the disposal with the greater value.
(5) Proceedings under subsection (1) may be brought by or at the suit of the Minister.
(6) In this section—
“disposal” includes sale, exchange, barter or other transaction based on a valuation of the fish concerned;
“sea-fishing boat concerned” includes an Irish sea-fishing boat wherever it may be and any other sea-fishing boat which disposes of fish within the exclusive fishery limits or in a port or other landing place in the State.